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Bell, Padres come to terms, avoid arbitration

Bell, Padres come to terms, avoid arbitration

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SAN DIEGO -- Leading the National League in saves and being named to an All-Star team has served Padres closer Heath Bell well -- both on the field and financially.

The Padres confirmed on Saturday that they have agreed with Bell on a one-year deal, reportedly worth $4 million, avoiding any chance of an arbitration hearing with the reliever.

The $4 million is a substantial raise over the $1.255 million Bell received a year ago.

Bell replaced the popular Trevor Hoffman as closer in 2009 and lead the NL in saves (42), going 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA in 68 games. He did not allow a run over his first 17 innings, spanning 16 games from April 7 to May 20. His first blown save occurred in his 15th opportunity.

In 2007 and 2008, Bell served as San Diego's eighth-inning specialist. Overall, he is 18-14 with a 2.72 ERA and 44 saves over three seasons in San Diego after being acquired from the New York Mets on Nov. 15, 2006.

Bell gained national notoriety in Spring Training last year when he showed up 25 pounds lighter thanks to Nintendo's Wii Fit.

It was certainly a whirlwind season for Bell, who also participated in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. His wife, Nicole, gave birth to their fourth child, Rhett, four months ago.

The Padres have two remaining arbitration-eligible players -- pitcher Mike Adams and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.

The filing period started on Jan. 5 and continues through Friday. Players who have at least three years of Major League experience and who are not on multi-year contracts, can have their salary determined through arbitration.

Players and their respective organizations exchange salary figures on Jan. 19 and can continue negotiations until a hearing begins in February. A panel of arbitrators determines which of the two submitted salaries the player receives in 2010.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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